1530 Concordia Irvine CA 92612
Cougars fall to Concordia in five sets
IRVINE, Calif. — Gabi Garcia Fernandez’s career-high 31 kills were not enough to save No. 10 BYU men’s volleyball, as they fell in five sets (25-20, 25-27, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13) to Concordia Irvine on the road Thursday.
Garcia Fernandez had the fourth-most kills in a match in BYU history, and the most since Ben Patch had 32 in 2016. He added seven digs and four blocks on his career night. Davide Gardini had 20 kills in match to go along with 10 digs and a career-high six blocks. Zach Hendrickson led the team in digs with 11, while Cyrus Fa’alogo had 42 assists.
BYU (12-9, 6-4 MPSF) had a 5-2 lead early in the first set, but the Eagles (13-15, 2-7 MPSF) came back to tie it at 7. CUI was able to get out to a 12-10 lead and didn’t look back, going on to take the opening game, 25-20, on its fifth service ace. Gardini led the Cougars with six kills on a .625 hitting percentage after one set.
The Cougars caught fire from the service line in the second set with back-to-back aces by Fa’algo and Garcia Fernandez’s second of the night to take a 9-7 lead early. Garcia Fernandez then helped to extend the lead to 12-8 with his ninth kill of the evening and an assist on a triple block. An Eagle error widened the gap once again, 18-12, and Garcia Fernandez continued his kill streak to reach double digits late in the period. The Eagles brought it back within one, 22-21, and then a service error allowed them to tie it at 23. BYU was able to hold on and win the second set, 28-26.
Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga got his first ace of the match early in the third set to give BYU a 9-6 lead. The Eagles took a brief lead, 10-9, before the Cougars re-established the lead, 17-14. The Eagles once again kept it close, however, and tied it again at 19 to force a BYU timeout. A pair of kills from Garcia Fernandez gave BYU some breathing room, 24-21, and put him over the 20-kill threshold for the seventh time this season. Gardini’s ninth kill of the match gave BYU the set, 25-22, to go up 2-1 in the match.
Gardini entered double-digit kills early in the fourth set as BYU got out to a 7-5 lead. Fa’agata-Tufuga got his first kill of the night to extend the lead to five, 11-6. The Eagles came back to tie it at 12, and kept it close before taking a 23-21 lead later in the set. CUI then got its 11th service ace of the match to take the fourth set, 25-21 and force a fifth game.
After an early 8-5 lead for the Eagles in set five, the Cougars rallied back to tie it at 8. Gardini’s 20th kill of the night gave BYU an 11-10 lead soon after. A kill gave CUI match point at 14-13 and forced BYU’s final timeout. An error on the Cougars then gave the Eagles the set and the match, 15-13.
BYU stays in California to take on No. 8 USC on Saturday at 7 p.m. PDT. Live streaming and stats can be found on the schedule page.
No. 10 BYU resumes MPSF play on the road
PROVO, Utah — No. 10 BYU men’s volleyball resumes MPSF play on the road this week against Concordia Irvine on Thursday and No. 8 USC on Saturday.
No. 10 BYU (12-8, 6-3 MPSF)
The Cougars are coming off of a seven-match home stand, four of which they won, including a five-set thriller over Princeton last Thursday as part of the BYU Invite.
BYU recorded 14 blocks as a team against Princeton last week, marking the fourth time this season the team has recorded 12-or-more blocks. The Cougars are undefeated when totaling 12-or-more blocks and currently lead the MPSF in blocks per set with a 2.54 average, good for fifth in the nation.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez extended his double-digit kill streak to 15 matches with 12 against Hawai’i, and came through clutch for the Cougars against Princeton two days before that, with seven of his 22 total kills coming in the decisive fifth set. He also matched his career high with five aces against No. 2 Hawai’i on Saturday to move into seventh place on the all-time list at BYU for career service aces.
Felipe de Brito Ferreira followed up his career-high 13 blocks last week against Pepperdine with 10 against Princeton on Thursday.
Freshman outside hitter Alex Ah Sue made his first start as a Cougar against McKendree last week and tied Garcia Fernandez for the most kills made by a freshman in his first start with 23 in four sets. His career night came on a .364 hitting percentage, while also adding six digs on the defensive end for a new career high.
Concordia Irvine (12-15, 1-7 MPSF)
The Eagles were swept by Grand Canyon in their lone MPSF matchup last week, before picking up two wins over Ottawa Arizona and Benedictine Mesa on Saturday. They play No. 1 Hawai'i at home on Tuesday before welcoming the Cougars to CU Arena.
BYU leads the all-time series 3-1 over CUI, with the lone loss coming last season in a five-set stunner in Provo.
The Eagles rank third in the MPSF in blocks, service aces and digs. CUI libero Addison Enriques leads in the conference in digs individually with 2.10 per set.
The Eagles lead the Cougars in kills per set and assists per set with 11.8-11.5 and 11.1-10.9 advantages, respectively, but BYU holds the lead in blocks per set, 2.6-2.0.
No. 8 USC (13-8, 4-4 MPSF)
The Trojans played just one match last week, handing No. 1, undefeated Long Beach State its first loss of the season in a sweep.
The Cougars beat the Trojans in a five-set match in Provo on Feb. 16 to extend their win streak to seven in the all-time series, which BYU leads 41-13.
USC ranks fourth in the MPSF in hitting percentage, assists, kills and digs. Outside hitter Ryan Moss ranks second in the conference behind Garcia Fernandez in kills per set with 3.83, while setter Chris Hall comes in third in assists per set with a 9.92 average.
The Trojans best the Cougars in the offensive categories with 12.8-11.5 and .321-.301 leads in kills per set and hitting percentage, respectively, while BYU holds the lead on defense once again with 2.6 blocks per set to 1.9 for USC.
Both matches begin at 7 p.m. PDT. Information on live streaming and stats can be found on the schedule page.